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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

More on Campaign Finance and Free Speech

Required Reading: So Much for Free Speech Its all about 527s, Campaign Finance Reform, and why this doesn't work with the First Amendment. This bit is especially pointed:

The media poorly describe what's happening. Campaign finance reform is a respectable cause. It's inconvenient to say that the First Amendment is being scalped. Few do. The New York Times recently ran a story on two campaign lawyers -- one Democratic, one Republican -- who bring cases before the FEC to bend "the complex rules to their clients' maximum benefit." The story barely hinted that, once candidates need lawyers and rulings to say what they can do, their constitutional protections have disappeared.
This is a very important point. I am all for the rule of law and lawyers are a valuable part of that. Past a certain point however, when lawyers are needed for things that should be obvious and routine (another good example of this is fair use copyright law) then the system has broken down. If you need a lawyer in order to exercise your rights then essentially you no longer have those rights. You especially do not have those rights if you are poor. I wonder what part of 'Congress shall make no law' confuses them?


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